Also Wednesday, the board learned from James Wilson of Education Planners Inc. in Marietta about what building projects could be done during a fourth round of the special purpose local option sales tax, which he now projects could bring in $717 million over five years, nearly $120 million more than previously projected.
Of course, the board must first vote to put the sales-tax continuation to a public referendum, and then a majority of voters would have to agree.
Dr. Judi Jones, the district’s academic chief, updated the board on how Cobb’s students fared last year on the End of Course Tests, which are given to high school students in seven subjects.
“In every course, we saw an increase percentage of students passing,” she said, calling it a “moderate” improvement.
The only action taken Wednesday came in the area of personnel. The board accepted the sudden resignation of Dr. Sandra Ervin as principal at Lindley Middle School in Mableton, and appointed Mitchel Bivens to replace her. The board also named Sharon Arduino as the new principal at Chalker Elementary in Kennesaw.
More than 104,000 students will be starting classes at the district’s 114 schools on Monday.
As for Angelucci’s effort to censure Banks, she asked to hold off until next month’s work session so all members are present.
Board Attorney Clem Doyle said that to censure a board member, two-thirds of the seven-member board must vote to hold a censure hearing.
“The next step would be for me and the board chair to come up with a process that is, in general, open and fair and I think particularly to the point,” he said, after Sweeney announced that the discussion would be delayed .
Tim Stultz, who represents southeast Cobb, asked how the governor’s office looked at board members in regards to censuring and violating codes of ethics, which Doyle said he would find out.
After the meeting, Doyle said the only consequence of censure of any member is to have it written into the meeting’s minutes as a permanent record. The censured member would remain in office.
“It’s not anything more than the voice of the board being made,” he said.
Doyle, who has been the attorney for Cobb Schools since 2010 and Marietta City Schools since 2003, also said he was not aware of any member of those boards ever being censured.
Board members spent much of their Wednesday meeting hearing project proposals for a SPLOST IV from Wilson, a former superintendent who founded Education Planners consulting group.
If voters approve, the tax would likely be collected over five years beginning Jan. 1, 2014 through the end of 2018.
SPLOST 3, which voters approved in 2008 and will be paying through Dec. 31, 2013, is expected to bring in around $600 million over its five years.
“SPLOST has become, especially in the education circles, the most innovative, effective and ultimately the most inexpensive way to secure funds for education,” Wilson said. “It is obviously very important that we do this correctly.”
The big-ticket projects Wilson and his staff recommended are building two “career academies” at a cost of $33 million each and building a new, $29 million Osborne High School to replace the existing school.
The consultants also suggested consolidating or rebuilding eight 1950s-era elementary schools; replacing theaters, gymnasiums, or both, at five high schools; and replacing “temporary” buildings at six more schools.
The elementary schools Wilson recommended consolidating or rebuilding are Belmont Hills, Eastvalley, Harmony Leland, LaBelle, Milford, Powers Ferry, Sedalia Park and Brumby.
Wilson’s group is recommending replacement of the theater and gyms at Harrison and Wheeler high schools; theater replacements at North Cobb, Pope and South Cobb high schools, and replacement gyms at Lassiter, Walton and Campbell high schools.
He recommends replacing temporary buildings at Compton, Mount Bethel, Tritt and Sope Creek elementary schools and Tapp and Daniell middle schools.
Many of the existing theaters and gyms were built to hold 1,500 students, not the nearly 2,000 now enrolled at each of the 16 area high schools.
His staff reviewed the history of each building to determine when it was built and whether it had been modified.
“We have done our research and our homework,” he said.
Deputy Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said his in-house SPLOST staff and Wilson’s employees will now ask principals for feedback about what their school communities want in SPLOST IV.
Board Chairman Sweeney has asked that the district schedule public forums in September and October to gather citizens’ input. The board expects to vote in November or December on calling for a March public referendum on the tax.
There were no questions or concerns raised during the meeting about the likelihood of Cobb voters agreeing to continue the schools SPLOST, given last week’s wide failure of a 10-year sales tax proposed by the state government for transportation.
Wilson’s company won the $75,000 contract to create the notebook.
Also Wednesday, academics chief Jones said more high-school students passed the End of Course Tests last year.
District-wide, 95 percent of test-takers met or exceeded standards in math I, while in literature, the rate was 92 percent. Eighty percent of test-takers met or exceeded standards in the social studies and science tests.
She presented results on the algebra, geometry and math II portions as fractions: three-quarters of test-takers met or exceeded standards on the math II test, and three-fifths of test takers at least met standards on the Georgia Performance Standards algebra test. But a mere one-third of students met standards on the Georgia Performance Standards geometry test.
Osborne High improved its pass rate by 10 percent or more on the math II, biology and economics tests. Pebblebrook High saw significant improvement its pass rate on math II and biology. And North Cobb High reported big gains on the biology test, Jones said.
Jones also led board members a little further on their quest for a new Strategic Plan by asking each to answer the question ‘How will we know?’ as to how each of the plan’s goals are being met.
The board previously set four goals for the district’s Strategic Plan: vary learning experiences to increase success in career paths; differentiate resources for areas/schools based on needs, develop stakeholder involvement to promote student success; and recruit, hire, support, and retain employees for the highest levels of excellence.
Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said the board could approve its new Strategic Plan as early as next month.
As for the new principal placements, Bivens will start today at the helm of Lindley Middle School. His career in education began as a parapro at Birney Elementary in 1997. He’s been the principal at Green Acres Elementary since 2007. His salary will increase from about $89,000 to $90,800 annually.
Arduino will start today as principal at Chalker Elementary in Kennesaw, replacing JoAnn Sappington, who retired. Arduino is coming from King Springs Elementary in Smyrna and her salary will increase from about $67,900 a year to $83,400, the district said. Arduino has been a teacher or administrator at Sanders Elementary in Austell; Nickajack Elementary in Smyrna; Ford Elementary in Acworth; and Big Shanty Elementary in Kennesaw.